(JERUSALEM) — If Israel does have plans to conduct a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, it’s not going to happen anytime soon.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak made that declaration Wednesday as suspicions grow that Iran is getting close to developing an atomic bomb.
Iran, which has long called for the destruction of Israel, ratcheted up tensions last week by accusing its enemy and the U.S. of assassinating a leading nuclear scientist.
According to Barak, a decision to launch a preemptive attack on Iran is “very far off.”
Whether that’s true or not is debatable, since Israel might be counting on the element of surprise if it goes ahead with unilateral action, a decision Washington doesn’t want its ally to make.
The White House prefers to see how toughened sanctions against Iran work out before taking the last resort.
In 1981, Israel acted unilaterally to destroy then-Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s Osiraq nuclear reactor in an airstrike, crippling the regime’s nascent nuclear program.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Sheena McKenzie, CNN
Ben Westcott, CNN
Juliet Perry, Tim Hume and Livia Borghese, CNN
Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN